While I was down south Marc Hulet posted his Top 30 Jays prospect list on Fangraphs. I love prospect lists. One of my favourite things about being on this site is arguing with Hugo each year about our prospect list (well that and listing to Johnny's Cher impersonation, when we are trying to do a podcast). In the end it isn't all that important, I am sure it doesn't matter to any of the players where we put them, but it is a fun project.
I sent Marc a few questions about his list and he was kind enough to answer. After the Jump
1. You have the Jays minor league system as the 3rd best in baseball, but unfortunately for us, we are competing with the teams in the AL East. How do our top prospects compare to other AL East teams?
Toronto definitely compares well... Tampa Bay (Jeremy Hellickson) and Baltimore (Zach Britton) have some very promising pitchers that edge Drabek, but Toronto definitely wins out in depth. New York can challenge Toronto for catching depth: Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine vs Arencibia, Perez, d'Arnaud and Jimenez. Boston wins the battle (barely) between two Cuban shortstop prospects: Jose Iglesias vs Hechavarria.
2. If you had to bet on one of the Jays to win a MVP/Cy Young Award, which one would you pick?
For Cy Young, it would have to be Romero by default... he has the potential to be a very solid pitcher for the Jays but I think he's more of a No. 2 guy than a true No. 1. For MVP, I guess I'd have to take Bautista. Toronto's strength this season seems to be that it's a fairly solid club all-around and shouldn't be like some clubs that put all their eggs into the basket of one or two superstar players. To be successful, Toronto is going to have to work as a team more so than ever before.
3. With Yunel Escorbar on the major league team and Adeiny Hechavarria getting close, which one do you see playing short for the Jays in 3 years?
You have to give the edge to the guy that's been doing it successfully at the MLB level. If and when Hechavarria is ready, he could potentially be a plus defender at second base. As they say, it's a nice problem to have.
4. How do you see the outfield in 5 years?
I've really been impressed by Dalton Pompey this spring. He's been tearing the cover off the ball in minor league spring games but he's just 18 and will open the year in extended spring training. He's someone to keep an eye on for the future. Other people that should be in the mix include Snider, Marcus Knecht, Anthony Gose, Jake Marisnick, Chris Hawkins, and (hopefully) Darin Mastroianni. (tom: Pomley was out 16th round draft choice last year, Canadian outfielder).
5. Lots of folks have given up on David Cooper. Do you think he still has a chance to have a major league career?
I've been quite down on Cooper since he was drafted (didn't like him at that spot for the Jays) but I have been impressed by his spring. I don't know, though, if it's a small sample size or if he made some adjustments during the off-season or the spring to tweak his stance or approach. If he's still showing well in June then I might start to believe...
6. Who in the organization, not on your list, do you think is mostly to make the list next year?
Pompey or Egan Smith or... for a dark-horse candidate Cesar Sanchez (You heard his name here first) from the DSL. (Tom: Sanchez was an international free agent signing from the Dominican, right handed pitch, just 19 and has had 2 seasons in the DOSL)
7. Has your opinion of Brett Lawrie's defense changed since the start of spring training? He has looked pretty good.
I think Lawrie can be as good as he wants to be. I've had the pleasure of speaking with him in the past and he definitely has confidence and a lot of talent, so I really think he's going to be something special.
8. You like K.C. Hobson better than most everyone (I like him too). What do you see that others don't?
I'm going mostly off amateur reports, pro video of his swing, and putting some faith in the ol' "grew up around the game" belief. My one concern is that he's probably going to be a bat-only guy as I haven't heard great things about his work in the field (outfield or first base).
9. Who in the 20-30 group do you see moving up the most his year?
Hutchison, Knecht, Syndergaard, and Hawkins all have the potential to be big movers... Gerry McDonald (from Batter's Box) saw Syndergaard live in spring training and came away very impressed. The Jays organization has clearly taken a liking to Hutchison, given his start for the big league team in camp.
10. There are a lot of starting pitchers on your list, which ones become relievers by the time they make the majors?
I try to avoid rankings pitchers too high that I think will end up as relievers (due to the low value and volatility) but Brad Mills, Henderson Alvarez (although I'm hearing good things about him this spring) and Chad Jenkins - I'm disappointed by his lack of focus on conditioning - are the most likely pitchers to end up in the 'pen.
11. Is there anything else we should know about the Blue Jay Prospects?
The 2010 draft nabbed quite a few very talented prep and juco players (not to mention the Latin investments), but fans are going to have to be very patient... we're talking 4-7 years for a lot of these guys to develop. Don't get frustrated if they struggle off the hop.